27th March 2023
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The government is considering plans to coax retired middle-aged workers back into jobs to boost the economy.

Older people who have given up work could be offered what is being dubbed a “midlife MoT” to entice them back into employment, the Times reports.

The paper says the MoT would assess finances and opportunities for work.

It follows a recent House of Lords committee finding that a wave of early retirement following the pandemic has caused a huge labour shortage.

The report by the influential economic affairs committee examined the jump in economic inactivity – the number of people not in work or looking for work – and rising vacancies since 2020.

Economic inactivity has increased by 565,000 people since the start of the pandemic, according to the analysis.

The report highlighted retirement, increased sickness, changes to migration and the UK’s aging population all contributed to the current tightness in the labour market.

Long-term sickness graphic

Recent figures in October revealed that nearly 2.5 million people are not looking for jobs because of long-term sickness – adding to labour shortages

The boss of John Lewis said in August that the company faced an exodus of over-50s staff leaving the company during the Covid pandemic.

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As the House of Lords report was published on Tuesday, Lord Bridges called on the government to do more to support the economy.

In response the Department for Work and Pensions said it has already expanded its Jobcentre midlife MoT service.

Now, according to the Times, a source close to the work and pensions secretary Mel Stride said he is also keen to find innovative ways to address economic inactivity.

He confirmed that he met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss plans before the Christmas break.

A public information campaign focusing on people over the age of 50 could begin as early as spring.

Speaking to the BBC a Downing Street source said plans are being worked on to bring older people back to the workforce, but added that nothing had been decided on yet.

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